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Should Christians Watch THE LAST OF US?

Poster courtesy of MMPA

Should Christians Watch THE LAST OF US?

By Allen Rushing, Movieguide® Contributor

Christians are constantly involved in a culture war. One side in this war produces lifeworks, while the other produces what sociologist Philip Rieff calls “deathworks.”  

Rieff (1922-2006), in the first part of his magnum opus, Sacred Order-Social Order, Volume I: My Life Among the Deathworks, defines a “deathwork” as any artistic work which is overtly antagonistic to the sacred and societal norms of a given culture and which actively seeks to subvert these norms.

He writes: “By deathwork I mean an all-out assault upon something vital to the established culture” (Philip Rieff, My Life Among the Deathworks, p. 7). 

The aim then of a deathwork is to mount a direct attack on the sacred order – the dominant philosophy or worldview – of a culture, seeking to tear down its sacramental strongholds in order to replace old habits of being with new ones. 

The dominant worldview of the U.S. has been one of Biblical Christianity, but now its sacraments, its ideas, and its assumptions about the world, are under attack by those who wish to replace them.    

In today’s state of cultural upheaval (kulturkampf – culture war) in the West, one is constantly bombarded with truth claims urging one to believe this, to support that, and to act in thus and such a way. This is inevitable because everyone has a worldview which dictates to them how they and others ought to live, and as “agents of world creation” (Rieff, Deathworks, p. 2) they are bound to try and reshape culture in the image of their sacramental assumptions – the stuff of their sacred order.  

Rieff mentions a few of these “negational theorists and artists,” specifically “Freud, Joyce, and Duchamp” (Rieff, Deathworks, p. 8), the first of which taught that “the healthy man needs no gods” (Philip Rieff, The Triumph of the Therapeutic, p. 89), the second whose subversive literary affronts are well known from Ulysses to Finnegan’s Wake, and the third who has been accurately described as “the high priest of destruction” (Francis Schaeffer, The God Who is There, p. 35). 

Today many artists of cultural destruction, enamored of the worldview of paganism and producing deathworks at an alarming rate to obliterate the remnants of Western Christian culture, abound in American popular culture. A great many of these artists and their specific deathworks, aiming to demolish what’s left of the biblical worldview in the U.S., are to be found in American cinematic culture.  

Case in point, “HBO’s hit video-game adaptation series The Last of Us took an unexpected detour into gay territory” in Episode 3 of Season 1, and the director of the episode, Peter Hoar, said “viewers sometimes need to be tricked into watching a gay love story.”  

The hardcore woke element of Bill and Frank’s homosexual relationship is intentionally imposed on the narrative, and played up for most of the hour-long third episode, which includes a bedroom sodomy scene, prolonged scenes of homosexual romance, and a gay marriage ceremony. Notwithstanding its utter failure to advance the series’ narrative and being as awkwardly tacked onto the storyline as any similar ideological imposition always is, the episode functions as one of the most powerful woke neopagan propaganda pieces on film and is the definition of a deathwork.  

Why does the audience, according to Hoar, need to be “tricked” into watching the episode? Probably because most Americans, still holding onto at least a semi-biblical view of the world, find such pagan practices abhorrent.  

But the director, openly homosexual himself, feels the need to push such dreck on viewers because he knows that he is on the front lines of a culture war that will decide the future shape of U.S. culture. Would that more Christians were as aware of this crucial kulturkampf as he is.  

“You will recognize them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16) our Lord said, and the deathworks which are the fruits of such labors as this, shout out rather than speak to their subversive intentions. 

Is it surprising that a primary element of the woke culture war upon the biblical sacred order is the subject of homosexuality? Is the struggle of the neopagan revolutionaries to make such sexual depravity normative a shock? It should not be. For as it has been rightly said that “homosexuality is a high sacrament of paganism” (from a conversation with the Rev. Dr. Gary Waldecker) so we should expect to see this take center stage in the ongoing culture war, as it does in Episode 3 of THE LAST OF US, Season 1.  

In light of all of this, recognizing cinematic deathworks must be a priority for Christians. Only by knowing what tunes the Devil is currently playing can Kingdom Agents of Christ combat the deathworks of the Enemy and his agents. Only by producing lifeworks in the service of the Lord of Life can Christians bring light to the deepening Western cultural darkness. 

 

 

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Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.

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4000+ Faith Based Articles and Movie Reviews – Will you Support Us?

Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.

Movieguide® is a 501c3 and all donations are tax deductible.